Strong message emerges: protect all parks and open spaces
Friends’ groups from across the Borough of Hounslow met with new Head of Parks and Open Spaces, Stefania Horne last week.
In a well-attended meeting, chaired by Linda Massey, Chair of the Friends of Boston Manor Park, Stefania introduced herself and her new team. She explained that the department has to make cuts of £2.7million in the near future and was looking to work closely with Friends’ groups to find efficiencies and to help to work out where savings could be made with least detrimental effect.
The Friends groups included representatives from Feltham Marshalling Yards in the west of the borough, to Dukes Meadows and Turnham Green in the east. It included newly created groups such as the Friends of Brentford Rec, which was recently set up after a threat to build a new school on a large part of the park.
Various suggestions about efficiencies were made, including greater council collaboration with the Friends’ groups, helping to facilitate their work which could in many ways supplement that of paid parks’ staff. Other suggestions included planting more sustainably which would require less maintenance. Many groups expressed frustration about the complexity of contacting the council and the various contractors, such as Carillion, Fusion and Hounslow Highways whose roles were not always clear.
The strongest message to emerge unanimously from the meeting was that Friends’ groups felt that all parks and open space were considered valuable and must not be sold off or built over.
Groups were pleased that the council had renewed dialogue with the Friends, which had been lacking for several years, and hoped that this would lead to a more efficient and collaborative way of working.
December 5, 2015